Divorce and protecting inherited assets

Many married couples argue over money. A couple may struggle with debt, one spouse may disapprove of the other's spending habits or spouses may argue over how to invest their assets. Regardless of the actual argument, when money is involved, things can grow heated quickly.

In cases where a married couple chooses to divorce, fights over the division of money and assets can become extremely contentious. This is often especially true in cases where inherited assets are at stake. There are, however, steps an individual can take to protect inherited assets and help ensure those assets are retained in the event a couple divorces.

For many married couples, marriage is about sharing. However, when it comes to inheritance matters, an individual would be wise to be more strategic in how inherited assets are retained and shared. For example, depositing inherited assets into a shared bank account automatically negates an individual's claim to those assets should a couple subsequently divorce.

When it comes to inherited assets and divorce, an individual would be wise to retain inherited assets in a separate account under only their name. Likewise, in cases where inherited assets are used to purchase a home or car, it's wise to ensure that only his or her name appears on the title.

Including provisions related to inherited assets in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is another way to help ensure those assets are protected in a divorce. Additionally, documentation like a gift-tax return or copy of a check related to inherited assets may benefit a spouse in retaining inherited assets in a divorce.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "How to Keep Your Inheritance in a Divorce," Neil Parmar, Nov. 9, 2014

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